Recently, one of the more noteworthy of the planet’s writer-philosophers has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and as of late the writer has been making the literary rounds discussing his condition – and of course philosophizing about the whole event and what it all means. And this philosopher is none other than Christopher Hitchens, one of the most widely read authors of the English language.
Mr. Hitchens even caught my eye when he wrote about Stieg Larsson and the popular posthumous success that has surrounded the Swedish writer, since The Millenium trilogy was published. In fact, that one little post has drawn more attention than anything else that I have written, for Hitchens very much liked Larsson’s writing and was glad to the literary world know about it in an article that appeared a while back in Vanity Fair.
Now Christopher Hitchens is back in Vanity Fair, solemnly contemplating his own demise and his unshakably stating his conviction as an atheist. In his Atlantic Monthly interview, Hitchens takes the time to discuss all the letters that he has received since his public declaration on the spread of his cancer to the lymph nodes.
According to the British writer, responses to his condition can be roughly divided into three groups. Those that wish him the best, even though the odds are against a successful recovery, those that hope for a deathbed confession and conversion and finally those that hope that Hitchens go straight to hell. And the big issue here is not his unwaivering support of the American-lead Iraq War, but rather a little book that he wrote entitled, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
This book has been in the book stores for a few years now and whenever I see the catchy title I often pick the manuscript up, just to sample a paragraph or two. And from what I’ve read, it’s not hard to see how the non-fiction title became such a big seller. However, one just can’t help but wonder, if somehow his current situation is not in somehow pyschically related to his commercial success with the atheist title. Of course, Hitchens has categorically denied anything of such a nature and has even stated that if in the future, he ever comes out with a statement that is the least bit similar to a confession or conversion that it should be automatically rejected as a by product of the chemotherapy or pain-killing drugs.
Still I would like to join the first group of writers and hope for a recovery for the “Hitch” as he likes to be called. I am sure that the writer has plans for other literary efforts and I hope that they will be forthcoming in the near future.